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Library Advocates Share Their Favorite Pump Up Songs

Katy Perry, Beethoven, and Pharrell Williams

The American Library Association’s advocacy team has been thinking about ways to keep library advocates energized and can help to keep us moving. We asked several of our members advocates to suggest a “pump up” song that they listen to before they make calls to your Congressional office or their favorite political track that makes them want to fight for their right to access information.

We compiled their recommendations and we are sharing today as a Spotify playlist to keep spirits up and our community lifted—and to ask you: what’s your library advocacy anthem?

Nikki Scarpitti

Director, Strategic Initiatives & Advocacy, Columbus Metropolitan Library

Library Advocacy Song: Dancing in the Dark (Bruce Springsteen)

“Dancing in the Dark always pumped me up before my college basketball games, and right now, it’s a good quarantine song because with so many unknown circumstances, it feels like we are making our way through the darkness. We’re all trying to spark something positive as best we can, in our own ways, but it feels like everyone is just dancing in the dark until these uncertain times pass.”

Rob Banks

Chair, ALA Committee on Legislation

Library Advocacy Songs: Fanfare for the Common Man (Aaron Copland) Pines of Rome (Ottorino Respighi) and Symphony No. 9 (Ludwig van Beethoven)

“First, Copland’s piece is uplifting/primal – just brass and drums! Then, in Respighi, I especially enjoy that last part where he depicts the Roman Legions marching over the hill on the Appian Way and the sun flashes off of their armor—it makes me feel invincible. Finally, in Beethoven’s Ninth, the last movement just makes the world a better place.” (Editor’s Note: Rob is an accomplished harp player!)

Briana McNamee

Director of Government Relations & Advocacy New York Library Association

Library Advocacy Song: Paperback Writer (The Beatles)

“There are several lyrics that reflect or describe what being a public advocate is like. “Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book? It took me years to write, will you take a look?” and “It’s a thousand pages, give or take a few. I’ll be writing more in a week or two.” For many of us in the field, it wasn’t a chosen career, but rather this undeniable draw towards a story, to information and to action for the betterment of someone or something greater than ourselves. The cause may change as years go on, but that just adds to our story.

Joe Thompson

Director of Public Services at Carroll County Public Library
Library Advocacy Song: Blue Monday (New Order)

My go-to energy song is a silly one, and it doesn’t have anything remotely to do with library advocacy. It’s the Tiësto Remix of “He’s a Pirate.” There are some excellent breaks. For an library advocacy pump up playlist I’d pick New Order’s Blue Monday. “And I still find it so hard to say what I need to say…” but if I speak from the heart and use the talking points provided by ALA, all will be okay.

Ann Ewbank

Associate Professor, Montana State University-Bozeman

Library Advocacy Song: Roar (Katy Perry)
Roar is my pump-up advocacy song. Before I meet with an elected official or staffer, I imagine that I am riding a big lion into the office just like Katy did in her Super Bowl halftime show.

Loida Garcia Febo

ALA Past President, 2018-2019

Library Advocacy Song: Fight the Power (Public Enemy)
Why? Because the power that threatens libraries must be fought all the time!

Sara Kelly Johns

AASL Liaison, ALA Committee on Library Advocacy

Library Advocacy Song: We Are the Champions (Queen)

For advocacy wins, this is my favorite song for obvious reasons. 

Ray Pun

Member, ALA Policy Corps 

Library Advocacy Song: Happy (Pharrell Williams)

This is a great song to hear and to feel optimistic during this challenge. I recommend it because it’s uplifting and positive and it can also shift one’s mood when preparing to do something difficult or celebrating one’s accomplishment.

Cynthia Robinson

Deputy Director, Illinois Library Association

Library Advocacy Song: Move on Up (Curtis Mayfield)

“It’s a perfect anthem for perseverance in trying times. When I listen to it, I feel like I can do anything.”

Kathy Lester

AASL Region 3 Director, School Librarian/Technology Integrationist

Library Advocacy Song: You’ve Got a Friend (Carol King)

Carol King’s album Tapestry is my favorite album. This song reminds me about the importance of kindness and relationships whether it is when working with students and colleagues, advocating for libraries/librarians, or just reaching out to others while sheltering in place. “All you got to do is call and I’ll be there.”

An initiative of the American Library Association

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